Karnataka: Can Congress capitalise on BJP cadre unrest? | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: The murder of Yuva Morcha member Praveen Nettaru in Sulia taluk and the subsequent unrest among BJP cadres has given Congress a sliver of hope of regaining at least a little of the grip it once had over the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.
Over the past decade, Congress has gradually lost its hold on the coast with polarisation making a comeback a struggle. In 2013, Congress won 11 of the 13 assembly seats across the two districts, but that was wiped out in 2018 when it retained only one of the 11.
However, three murders in less than 10 days in Dakshina Kannada has shown the BJP government in poor light. The murder of Nettaru has rattled the saffron party and it is facing an uphill task in reassuring workers of their safety while also staying true to its ideological beliefs. “Whatever BJP’s agenda may be, people now realise that they want peace and harmony after the three back-toback murders in the district,” said UT Khader, Congress deputy floor leader and Mangaluru MLA.
“A testimony to this is the fact that there has not been any communal rioting over the murders.” Priyank Kharge, Cong ress’ communication chairman, said this is the first time BJP has faced wrath for its own doing. “When was the last time you saw BJP workers heckling their own ministers or an angry mob topple their state president’s car or trying to barge into the residence of their own home minister?” questioned Kharge. He said Congress is being forced into a certain brand of politics because BJP is targeting it by alleging Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are its ‘B’ team. “Our government withdrew 414 cases between 2015 and 2017, but these cases involved 3,164 Hindus and only 341 Muslims,” Kharge said.
“And all these cases are related to rallies over farmer issues or pro-democratic protests.” Congress legislators say frustration and anger of BJP workers over Nettaru’s murder, has given the opposition hope of turning things their way in the 2023 elections. They expect the saffron party cadre to remain “neutral” during canvassing. On Tuesday (August 2), former national party president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to meet with KPCC office-bearers in Hubballi and participate in their Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting which will strategise on capitalising from unrest in BJP. “Members are expected to discuss the prevailing political situation,” said Saleem Ahmed, KPCC working president. “Congress will wait and watch how things unfold.”
‘Cadres will stay true’ But senior BJP and RSS functionaries dismissed the possibility of the unrest benefitting the opposition as they expect the anger to die down by the end of the year. The national leadership is also expected to provide a road map for a fresh approach. “The cadre will remain faithful to the party. BJP will course-correct and it will calm tempers,” said one RSS functionary.
Ministers like V Sunil Kumar, who hail from the region, say the emotional outburst will not hurt the party. “When a family member dies, there is an emotional outburst which is natural. That does not mean it will have a negative impact on the party’s prospects. These issues will be sorted out by the government,” he said.





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